Blog Posts - July 2011

NEWS MEDIA RELEASE or CONFUSING THE NEWS MEDIA?

By Emilio, on Jul 31, 2011


Mayor Daniel Dodge has taken exception to the Grand Jury Report with a “Media Release” on city letterhead. He wrote, “I am very disappointed in the inaccurate and misleading information presented in the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury 2010-2011 Report”. And, that he was “shocked” with “glaring errors” and responded to each section of the Report, item per item.

 

He took exception on the Manabe-Ow project and wrote that a “detailed discussion” was addressed on the need of Redevelopment Funding in Chapter 5 of the 2008 Specific Plan. In neither the Specific Plan or in Chapter 5 does it state that we needed to designate that farmland property to “blight” so the city could use Redevelopment Agency (RDA) money to assist developer George Ow with “infrastructure improvements”.  What the Plan clearly stated in Chapter 5 was that “Developers/property owners will bear the primary responsibility to fund and construct the site and infrastructure improvements”. “Misleading”? Maybe “Bait and Switch” is more like it considering that developer/owner George Ow has yet to commit how much he is willing to pony up and when.

 

Of the Fire Truck, Mayor Dodge wrote that “The purchase of the Fire Truck met the criteria for a sole source purchase and was approved in a public meeting by the city council.”  Yes, the city council approved the purchase of a fire truck but what they were not told was that it would take over three years before expecting delivery and were “mislead” about the condition of the truck. A report to the city council stated the fire truck was in “excellent condition”. If that was a fact, why were the Pasadena City Council advised by their fire department to trade-in the truck because it was a financial burden to maintain, and only had a value of approximately $20,000?      

 

Mayor Dodge also wrote, “The invoice from the vendor was a binding legal contract between the city and Fire Trucks Plus for the Fire Truck.” I don’t know what information our mayor has to render such a legal opinion or which “Invoice” he is referencing because I have four separate Invoices. Also, the check the city issued for $225,000 to Fire Truck Plus clearly states it is for a 1992 Pearce Lance not the 1999 KME we purchased.  Mayor Dodge may want to ask City Attorney Alan Smith if this fact changes the legality of what constitutes a “Contract” in this situation. What is also questionable in this transaction is that invoices for the Pearce Lance and KME list identical costs for “Refurbishments”, training, lettering, taxes and cost for the truck. What are the chances of that happening?

FLASH NEWS RUMOR, REDISTRICTING WATSONVILLE

By Emilio, on Jul 19, 2011

The City’s Redistricting Committee will be holding a meeting today, Tuesday July 19th at 6:30 PM at the Civic Plaza Community Room on the top floor. The first proposal consists of separating some of Nancy Bilicich’s district and putting those people in Councilman Oscar Rios’ district.

 

Is there a reason why all of the members of the Senior Community shouldn’t remain in Bilicich’s district? Are the rumors true that Mayor Dodge, who lives across the street from Oscar Rios’ district, is trying to keep his residence in District 5 because of his fear of losing in the next election?  I hear that many concerned citizens will be attending the meeting this evening.

SEEING RED

By Emilio, on Jul 12, 2011

Some residents on Stanford St. are up in arms after the city painted their curbs red, restricting parking in front of their homes. One resident even had her driveway painted red as you can see.

red

Apparently, according to the city, there have been “several broadside accidents” on the intersection of Stanford and Madison which prompted painting the curbs. The city contends that “parked vehicles were impeding the driver’s ability to see oncoming traffic”. And, that in “review of field conditions, for the 25 mph speed on the street, a minimum of 150 feet of sight distance up the road is required”.

One-Hundred-Fifty Feet equates to ten vehicles parallel parked bumper to bumper. I drove on Stanford and in my opinion 150 feet is excessive. The houses on the corners of the intersection impeded the vision at that distance.

A more reasonable solution would be to paint 20 feet of the curb, which seems to be the norm in other intersections around the city.

Although some citizens complain that it seems difficult to deal with the city, not too long ago a persistent group of residents had a “calming circle” removed from their street. So, I hope the residents on Stanford don’t give up, because I have to agree, it seems like too much red for the purpose.

SEX, LIES, & VIDEO TAPES?

By Emilio, on Jul 11, 2011

 

I rarely take exception to people writing or stating that I have done little for Watsonville. The latest one was from a Felton female fan of the Sentinel. I wrote and an op-ed chastising the Sentinel for taking a fair weathered flip flopper tactic. The Sentinel criticized Watsonville in an Editorial for dealing with Ethic Code Violations instead of focusing on job creation after sensationalizing my alleged ethics code violation resulting from a private telephone conversation with George Ow lobbyist Elias Alonzo.    

 

One of the first things I accomplished was having the Community Development Department provide the Planning Commission with copies of Applications for permits. This had never been done before. I did this after a Burger King was proposed next to the Red Roof Inn and the applicant complained of the process which included selective code requirements. And, because come to find out, some members of the Development Department were having meetings and deciding which applicants could start a business in Watsonville without the Planning Commission’s knowledge.

 

Another accomplishment was determining how much the city spends in legal fees. City Attorney Alan Smith claimed his invoices were “client privileged” information in his attempt to deny me access to view his legal fees. It took me one full year and countless of hours conducting legal research, writing emails to our city manager, memos, and public records requests before being allowed to view the invoices. Of course the invoices weren’t “client privileged” information because the city council is the “client” and they approve payment of Smith’s billings. How could we approve payment for legal services if we didn’t know what services were provided and how much they cost? How Smith convinced then council member Luis Alejo, also an attorney, that his fees should not be privy to scrutiny by the city council is incomprehensible, especially after finding out that City Attorney Smith stamps his own invoices for approval of payment.

 

Along with allowing me and the other council members to view the legal invoices, an agreement was also made that City Manager Carlos Palacios would provide a quarterly report of legal expenses to the city council. He has done this only once. Why? Could it be that Palacios and Company did not want the public to know that the city spent around 1.2 million in legal expenses alone attempting to build housing around the airport? Or, that the city attempted to circumvent Judge Paul Burdick’s ruling against development around the airport by lying to the Planning Commission that it was both safe and legal to allow construction of a cabinet shop at the edge of a runway resulting in another lawsuit by the Watsonville Pilot’s Association? The city lost, again, and had to pay the pilots another $50,000 for their legal fees in addition to what we had to pay City Attorney Smith. This information would most likely be hidden from the public if it wasn’t for yours truly.

CONDOLENCES

By Emilio, on Jul 8, 2011

Sobering moments like the plane crash last night which resulted in wiping out a family of four, and the son who committed suicide after shooting his dad weeks after the son’s mother passed away will hopefully bring some perspective to our lives. I know that many times I fail to thank the Good Lord for all the blessings. It is absolutely heartbreaking thinking what the relatives of these families will have to endure for the rest of their lives. My sincere condolences and prayers to all the families involved.

 

~Emilio Martinez.

NEW FLASH: AIRPLANE CRASHES INTO WATSONVILLE HOSPITAL

By Emilio, on Jul 7, 2011

I received a call that an airplane taking off from Watsonville Airport crashed into Watsonville Hospital. It was reported that possibly the airplane, while using runway 20, made a slow left turn, stalled, spun out and hit the north- west end of Watsonville Hospital. It is believed that both the pilot and the passenger were killed in the crash. 

WATSONVILLE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY HAS 3 MILLION TO SPARE?

By Emilio, on Jul 6, 2011

According to Watsonville City Manager Carlos Palacios our city’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA) can cough up 3 million to the state if Gov. Brown allows RDAs to continue to exist.  

 

I don’t know if other council members knew that we had 3 mill sitting around until this past week, but then, transparency is not one of our city’s strongest points. I was somewhat surprised because we were told we couldn’t afford potted plants in the downtown area as they were too costly to water, that we couldn’t afford Christmas lights, or kiosks to help attract tourists to our city, not to mention the excessive blight that hinders job creation. But we can afford giving the state 3 million?

 

The Grand Jury reported that they attempted to investigate our RDA to determine a list of projects undertaken, project costs and annual revenues and expenses, but that “the Grand Jury was never able to find this information”.  The Grand Jury also reported that the RDA staff who they  interviewed could only name “five or six” completed projects over nearly 30 years in existence.  How do you define “gravy train”? And, the Grand Jury Report made no mention of the 3 million; wonder if they were told about it? We do know that when the Grand Jury asked questions that some “city staff members” of the RDA were “dismissive” and “contemptuous”.  Gee wonder who that could be?

 

LYING IS NOT CONSIDERED “UNETHICAL” BY WATSONVILLE CITY MANAGER CARLOS PALACIOS?

By Emilio, on Jul 2, 2011

According to today’s Register-Pajaronian (July 2nd) City Manager Carlos Palacios stated that the Grand Jury did not find any “legal” or “ethical” wrong doing with the purchase of the 1999 KME fire truck.

 

Watsonville issued a $225,000 check on April 29, 2008 for a 1992 Pierce Lance fire truck to Fire Trucks Plus of Rancho Cucamonga but 2 years and 8 months later “purchased” a 1999 KME on December 8, 2010 from the same dealer.

 

Webster’s defines a “lie” as:

A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.

2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

v. lied, ly·ing, lies

v.intr. 

1. To present false information with the intention of deceiving.

2. To convey a false image or impression: Appearances often lie.

 

It was a lie when the city council was told that the Fire Truck was being “refurbished” in Rancho Cucamonga at Fire Trucks Plus when it was 38 miles away at a Pasadena Fire Station.

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